This startup looking to curb the US opioid crisis wins $50,000

By Michael Krumholtz November 3, 2018

A San Diego startup is aiming to curb the United States’ historic opioid crisis by helping get people off addicting painkillers.

Neuralace Medical, founded by Shiv Shukla, was recently honored with $50,000 after winning the John G. Watson Quick Pitch competition in the California city, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The flagship device used by Neuralace Medical is meant to treat chronic pain by utilizing magnets pulses to help soothe nerve damage.

After we’ve been seeing the death toll of accidental overdoses from opioids continue to climb in the country, Shukla clearly made a compelling case of how he can help stop one of the largest problems confronting the U.S. today.

The founder said his research into the epidemic motivated him to act on what he saw as a mounting threat for people across the country.

“Instead, what I found was really responsible adults who had gone through a surgical procedure and became hooked on prescribed opioids in a week or two,” Shukla told the Union-Tribune. “It blew me away. And physicians are frustrated, too, because they don’t have anything else to offer these patients who are in pain. That’s when I decided not to go on to medical school. I knew I wanted to study pain research.”

Shukla’s product has already passed all the necessary hurdles with the FDA after showing significant improvements in a study group.

He told the Union-Tribune that he will use the $50,000 prize to help fund another study featuring 80 test subjects.

According to the most recent numbers from the CDC, an average of 115 Americans are dying every day from the opioid epidemic, although that number is likely even higher by now. The epidemic has been especially visible in middle America where outgoing manufacturing jobs that took tolls on workers’ bodies saw high rates of people get addicted to prescription painkillers.

“Neuralace is working on an important area of medical need,” investor and Quick Pitch judge Susie Harborth told the Union-Tribune. “We thought the data they showed where patients reduced pain and were off opioids was very compelling.”